Wonder Woman’s Bombshell Pin-Up Variant Covers OR Do We Really Need These?

In June, DC is releasing a series of bombshell, pin-up variants, a tie-in to a line of statues they produce. The covers for Wonder Woman’s books have been released, so let’s take a look.

First up is Wonder Woman #32, with a cover by Ant Lucia:


And we’ve also got Superman/Wonder Woman #9, with a cover drawn by Emanuela Lupacchino with colours by Fabio Mantovani:


I’m of two minds about this entire line of covers. Let me say first that these two Wonder Woman covers are quite nice, and the rest of the line looks pretty good as well. They capture the pin-up style of the 1940s well, and I enjoy the reworking of the costumes. Turning Wonder Woman’s tiara into a bandanna is a nice touch, and the engraved bracelets look really cool. It’s a fun look for Wonder Woman.

That being said, it’s irksome that DC only seems to spotlight their female characters in objectifying ways. They can’t just do a month of female hero variants, or the women of DC in the 1940s. It has to be pin-ups, a celebration of the art form that aided so many self-pleasuring young men in the 1940s and 1950s. And, of course, there is no male equivalent, no sexy man month. I’d be okay with equal opportunity sexiness. But highlighting female characters only serves to reinforce the idea that comics are for men.

Now, as far as sexy covers go, these are very tame and tasteful, and nicely executed. We’ve definitely seen far more raunchy and cringeworthy depictions of women at DC over the past few years. Every recent appearance of Starfire springs to mind, as does the early issues of the New 52 Catwoman, and Wonder Girl on the new Teen Titans cover. There’s no lack of exploitive images featuring DC heroines, month after month, and these bombshell pin-ups are much more pleasant in comparison.

But is that something we actually want to celebrate? What a sorry state we’re in if we’re happy that a comic book publisher has sexualized their female characters somewhat less than usual. As well-executed as these covers may be, ultimately what they do is highlight that DC sees their male heroes as actual heroes and their female heroes as sex objects. I highly doubt that DC will follow bombshell pin-up variant month with something like Playgirl centerfold variant month, because they don’t treat their male characters that way. They only objectify the women. And it’s getting really old.

So yeah, they’re nice covers, but the last thing this industry is lacking is heroines in pin-up poses. If these covers were a change of pace from how DC usually treats their female characters, I’d be far more inclined to like them, but instead it’s only a retro version of the same old.  I’m not upset about them, but I’m just not interested.  Why not put these women in an actual story, have them fight bad guys, and be characters who DO things, rather than posing them like objects? These women are heroes, they’re characters, not models. Treat them as such.

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5 Responses to “Wonder Woman’s Bombshell Pin-Up Variant Covers OR Do We Really Need These?”

  1. Te Says:

    Thank you, thank you, *thank* you for once again saying what needed to be said. This promotion makes me so freaking tired, and I hate the fact that this beautiful art feels — *has* to feel — so awful, offensive, and… full of the most banal, tone-deaf sexism imaginable.

    I think I have a patriarchy-ache.

    • Tim Hanley Says:

      I think you totally hit the nail on the head. It’s such a shame that really nice art feels so unpleasant. This could be a fun line if I weren’t so tired of the same old sexist crap.

  2. Wendy Says:

    I can’t hate it, even though I think you make really good points. I love Ant Lucia’s art, found him to be a really nice guy when I spoke to him last year at C2E2, and wish I could afford that WW statue based on his art.

    YES, there is entirely too much cheesecake in our comics, YES there’s way too much focus on heroines being attractive, and YES DC has a lot to answer for in this regard, as do most of the publishers. So even though those problems exist, I’ll get that Ant Lucia cover and frame it, because I love it.


  3. Anonymous Says:

    This has to be most banal thing to complain about this year.

  4. Leading Lady Links: DC Bombshells, Mothers Day, Lady-Led Media | Feminism/geekery Says:

    […] Tim Hanley, author of Wonder Woman Unbound, discusses whether or not we need the DC Bombshell covers.  […]

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